Music Reviews

Live Better Electrically / Ed States: Electric Baby EP

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 13 2012
Artist: Live Better Electrically / Ed States
Title: Electric Baby EP
Format: 12"
Label: Shewey Trax
Distributor: Discogs
Rated: *****
A few days ago, i was happy to receive a sparkling, new, 12" vinyl, from 'Shewey Trax', the indie electronic L.A. based label, that has had releases during the 90s, as well, and has been reviewed in Urb magazine, XLR8, DJ magazine and has had many DJ chartings. From 2009, onwards, Shewey Trax, makes a strong comeback with quality vinyl and digital releases, within the deep house, gritty techno and electrofunk spectrum.
This new vinyl release, 'LBE and Ed States - 'Electric Baby e.p.' is a split 12". Side A, offers three tracks by LBE (Live Better Electrically). He keeps the music as the main focus, without any (often - unnecessary - production tricks). There is an aura of early 80s proto - electro reflections, in the sound of the first two tracks, 'Electric Baby' and 'It Can't Be Tonight', while keeping a funky vibe, melted with gritty synth bursts and electro beats, with the third track, coming in strong, a special hybrid of 4/4 beat, electro - disco, pads and distorted lead melodies, while a dirty bass drives the track.
On Side B, Ed States, offers three installments, of his 'Diamond Sky' track (vocals provided by Live Better Electrically). There is the main 'Ed's Lookout Mix', the 'Instrumental' and a shorter '3min Carat' mix. A gritty bassline sets the pace, a 4/4 beat, layered pads and distorted vocal phrases, have an almost hypnotic techno - disco effect.
As a whole, there is a high level of musical individuality, on both sides of this release, and that is something i always respect. If you like techno/electro/disco, in the form of a shiny, great sounding 12", this one is for you!

Sensate Focus: Sensate Focus 3.333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 20 2012
Artist: Sensate Focus (@)
Title: Sensate Focus 3.333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Last evening I enjoyed a chat in front of a cup of coffee with a friend who theorized about a possible connection between sexual life and music style and according to his personal vision, house music could fit bored people in order to make them feel sexier than they really are. Even if such an amazing discussion could be more asymptotic than the repeating decimal which gives name to this third release of Sensate Focus series, the way Mego and supposedly Mark Fell, the ill-concealed producer behind this "neat house" project, which has been used by some sex therapist in order to describe a set of exercise for the enhancement of sexual life recalled that conversation. I belong to those people who stopped listening to this genre after its roaring years due to the fact it became too recurrant and quite boring and I think that Mark Fell paradoxically could join this community! Even if I've not listened to the first two issues of the series, it's quite clear that Mark squeezed some of the most seducing sounds which branded that genre and tried an update by adding some funnier and diversified breaks and rhytmical patterns in order to avoid listener's frequent yawns. The final result is very interesting: both the melodic aspect and the rhythmic pattern, the real propellant of already known ingredients (you'll easily recognise sounds which were massively used when so--called Uk garage-house made his very first steps), together with funny vocal treatments could sound nostalgic, but extremely seducing at the same time, even though I'm not sure it could have some provable effect on couples!

Binalog Frequency: Late Night People

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 14 2012
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Artist: Binalog Frequency (@)
Title: Late Night People
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Distributor: bandcamp
Rated: *****
After listening to 'Late Night People', Binalog Frequency's 5th solo album, many times over, very carefully, it became apparent to me that this album actually feels like it's some sort of a 'statement'. Like a personal journey but with everyone invited. That could explain the title too (in my mind).
Binalog Frequency has his own distinct sound, that has been documented through his solo albums and remixes. Once again, in top form, 'Late Night People's core is all about the 'groove' within the Detroit techno/electro sonic work-frame. The tracks are powerful with very carefully constructed/programmed techno beats, thumping, catchy basslines, and mood-setting pads, clean and direct arrangements, and even some 'techno - dub' experimentations that add an extra special vibe to the album.
As a whole, the listener gets a feeling that below the 'in your face' grooves, that are the driving force, there is an undercurrent of introspection, that makes all the difference. This album is a keeper. A solid, techno beat-driven, powerful collection of tracks, guaranteed to satisfy your electro/techno needs.

Hirsute Pursuit: Tighten That Muscle Ring

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 04 2012
Artist: Hirsute Pursuit (@)
Title: Tighten That Muscle Ring
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
The presence of notorious, appreciated and defiant American sound artist Boyd Rice on three tracks (including the initial snappy cover version of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging", a song which was very successfull in a period when British middle-class conformism was one of the favorite target of many pop singers) of this second explicit act by Hirsute Pursuit, straight gay music project by Harley Phoenix and Bryin Dall, brought his definition of "unpop" to my mind. Referred to the artistic movement Boyd Rice co-founded with Brian Clark and Shaun Partridge, the adjective 'unpop' could be sticked on every cultural product based on "the application of pop aesthetics, stylings, or techniques to unpopular, unpleasant, repressed or otherwise censored ideas" and "Tighten That Muscle Ring" could be tight to that definition alike. The inclusion of recordings of whimperings, orgasms and other copulatory sounds as well as the use of straight and sleazy language cannot be considered innovative, but their integration on pretty conventional musical structures - many cues from trip-hop, break house and rock have been mainly revised...and most of them sounds so good (definitively better than a plenty of wacky stuff, born from marketing experts' mind, which sounded really offensive against gay people), particularly when they blend sleazy downbeat sounds and trip-hop stepping together like in "Daddy Bear" "You're Here To Pleasure Me" or contextualizethe sound within a set like in the sloppy and sad accordion-driven "One Sleazy Night In New Orleans", co-performed by Peter Martin Christopherson - famous founding memeber of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV -, that they gained an astonishing circulation before an official release without advertising or promotional campaign with more than 140000 plays on myspace - looks like follow footsteps of similar showy transplants on "pop body" and hooplas such as "Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin or Rod McKuen's "Slide...Easy In". If you're excessively susceptible to male nudity, just close your eyes when taking cd out of its digipak sleeve. If I say there are some puckered sheets printed on it, you should guess what you are going to find below it.

Tastatur: Electric Lounge Machine

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 03 2012
Artist: Tastatur
Title: Electric Lounge Machine
Format: CD
Label: Everest Records (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
Another interesting release from snow-capped Swiss higher grounds comes from the sound machines of a couple of friends of long standing, Bern-based producers Jakob Stoller (aka Dj Ramax) and Daniel Wihler, whose releases with aliases Alphatronic and Mustfuzz (or Muzzfuzz, the name I remember the first time this collaborative project with Tom Vedvik landed on my hi-fi system on the occasion of the issue of "Electro Commando 1 - Welcome to Psicity", an opulent compiation by Anthony Rother's Psi49net) could have already reached your headphones. The circumstance they come from relatively different fields and have a different approach to music production (whereas Stoller is more "dance-oriented", Wihler has a taste for more atmosheric music) have repercussions on the direction their co-signed project Tastatur (German word for "computer keyboard") follows. The album could be ideally splitted in two parts as the first tracks sound more "atmospheric" in spite of the insert of deep bass lines and phat slowed beats, so that weird electro and thessaloniki martial electro influences look like tallying with a sonic research whose high quality and dramatic hooks could be vaguely associated to some stuff issued by Ant Zen or Brume (Flint Glass, S:Cage or similar stuff), those sonic epic tales some Greek electronic performers often evoke throughout their music or even some interesting episodes related to the first waves of technoid ambient-trance (Brain Pilot, Model 500, Beaumont Hannant), even if in many track this Swiss project lean towards viscous and pasty sonorities ("Rolldose", "Dandanchak"), which some nice addictions of old-fashioned electronic dub stepping (in tracks such as "Eierkuchen", "Pepadsh" or "Swirell" - one of my favorite track of the whole album -), contemporary dubstep declensions ("Daemmerzustand", the fuzzy gleeful clicks'n'clocks of the title track or the nervously wired "Broadband" - another highlight - ) and occasional mongrels with Teutonic standard minimal techno ("Hausgang", "Bubble Control") make their sound punchier and snappier. Their hybrids include so many elements that some tracks are quite difficult to file under some precisely defined style, but this aspect cannot be considered a defect, but the authentic driving force of Tastatur instead.

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